Tapas (1A)

The origin of tapas is not very clear. One argument claims they originated as a result of a royal decree handed down by King Alfonso X. It was stated that wine be served with food in order to lessen the effects of the alcohol. It is therefore believed that innkeepers started covering the drinks [tapa = cover] with a slice of ham or a piece of cheese, not only to abide by the king’s orders, but also to keep the flies from falling into the wine.

Another story claims that the tradition arrived later, during a trip that Alfonso XIII took to Cádiz. It is believed that when the monarch stopped off at an inn, it was so windy that sand was blowing inside, so a waiter decided to put a slice of ham on top of the wine glass. Apparently, the king appreciated the gesture so much that this custom soon spread throughout Spain. 

Whichever theory you prefer, the one thing for sure is that in Seville the tapas are much more than just a snack: they’re practically a way of life. Sevillians usually hop from bar to bar trying the various specialities offered at each one. But don’t be surprised if you can’t find the typical dishes on a menu, because waiters often verbally recite their fare.

If you’re looking for a good tapas bar, the truth is that the city is full of them, although we recommend that you take a stroll through the Santa Cruz neighbourhood or down Calle Betis and the surrounding area in the Triana district. The added bonus is that these delicious little treats tend to be very reasonably priced.

So don’t hesitate to go out and try one of the many specialities that you’ll come across, but make sure that they’re either accompanied by a glass of wine or a beer. 

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